Kaepernick Voices Support For Racial Justice, Condemns Police Brutality

Two days removed from choosing to sit down during the national anthem, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was adamant that he will continue to take a seat during future renditions of “The Star Spangled Banner” until justice is reaped by all members of American society.

“I’ll continue to sit,” he said while standing in front of his locker during a post-practice news conference Sunday. “I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed.”

Fielding questions for nearly 20 minutes, the 28-year-old said that his primary gripe comes with the unjust treatment committed by police officers against people of color around the country.

“There’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable,” he said. “Cops are getting paid leave for killing people. That’s not right.”

Kaepernick made it clear that his gesture Friday night before San Francisco’s preseason game against the Green Bay Packers was not about bashing the military. His goal was to spark a national conversation and ignite change that will positively impact people without a voice.

Teammate NaVorro Bowman’s concern was with the team on the field.

“We don’t think Kaepernick is a bad teammate,” Bowman said, “we just can’t allow him to divide our team.”

But Kaepernick doesn’t see the protest as a distraction. Instead, he believes it can do just the opposite.

“I think it’s something that can unify this team and something that can unify this country,” he said. “If we have these real conversations that are uncomfortable for a lot of people, if we have these conversations, there’s a better understanding where both sides are coming from.”

When asked if he has ever faced examples of police injustice, Kaepernick told reporters that he has been a victim “multiple times” and offered one instance when he said police pulled guns on him and a roommate while the two were moving out of a house in college.

“I have experienced this,” he said. “People close to me have experienced this. This isn’t something that’s a one-off case here, a one-off case there. This has become habitual. It’s something that needs to be addressed.”

In addition to future sit-downs, Kaepernick says that he will continue to have open conversations about police brutality in addition to leading unspecified community events until he feels that the American flag represents a country for the values that it was founded on.

In the meantime, he stands by his Friday night statement.

“This country stands for freedom, liberty, justice for all, and it’s not happening for all right now,” he said.

The NFL issued a statement, saying players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.

The 49ers’ next preseason game is 7 p.m. Thursday in San Diego.

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